Skip to main content

The art of gaming, part III: E3 through a painter’s eyes

art gaming part iii e3 painters eyes 2014 artist joshua mongeau 061214
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s hard to capture the experience of being at E3 in words. Video gaming’s own annual Lollapalooza aims to deliver a single message to a variety of parties, from gamers to retailers: Buy our stuff.

And to that end, the event is designed around spectacle. The most popular games go big, loud, and pretty, and their individual appearances at E3 are meant to capture that spirit in a way that can be writ large across a number of different mediums. Words alone don’t convey all of the sights and sounds of such an event.

With that in mind, we’ve commissioned artist Joshua Mongeau to bring you a slightly different take on E3. Each day, we’ll be sharing pieces of original artwork that reflect in some way on the popular games and talking points of the show, as seen through the eyes of a creative-minded observer. For more beautiful eye candy, check out Part IPart II and Part IV of this week’s Art of Gaming series.

8-Bit Battle Link

8 Bit Battle Link © Joshua Mongeau
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Legend of Zelda series gets turned on its head in Hyrule Warriors, an action game from Tecmo Koei that falls in line behind Dynasty and Samurai Warriors series’. In Hyrule, Link and his pals take on armies of familiar baddies in knockdown brawls. More than just a colorful riff on the new game, 8-Bit Battle Link also nods to Nintendo’s scrappy comeback potential as the publisher finds new ways to dodge criticism with fresh, fan-pleasing ideas.

Yuki Blast

Yuki Blast © Joshua Mongeau
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Another acknowledgment of E3’s ever-present abundance of progression hook-driven shooters, Josh did what so few of the AAAers seem capable of doing in Yuki Blast: he put the spotlight on a battle-suited, ass-kicking female. This is no distressed damsel, no frail foil. She’s armed, armored, and ready to save the day.

Paulentina and The Leader

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
― Jim Rohn

Paulentina © Joshua Mongeau The Leader © Joshua Mongeau

These two pieces share more than just a visual connection; they’re a dual celebration of empowered female protagonists that follow a narrative arc of sorts. First is Paulentina, anchored by a quote from author Jim Rohn that contemplates the challenges of leadership. The pulled-out perspective shows a woman standing tall; she’s all alone, but she’s proud, strong, and unburdened. The Leader brings our subject into sharper focus, flanked more directly by the spirit of Rohn’s quote and imbued with the spirit of the powerful female leaders that precede her. She’s not alone, and she never really was. She’s the leader.

Pig Soup

Pig Soup © Joshua Mongeau
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pig Soup gets meta in more ways than one. Josh is riffing here on Hohokum, Honeyslug’s action-free “no stress” game that is itself the product of a collaboration with artist Richard Hogg. The text at the center of the piece — ‘I am tired of being reincarnated’ — speaks to the “shoot, die, repeat” pattern of play that fuels the industry’s most popular games, and the hunger many players have for something more contemplative, experiences that games like Hohokum and Entwined address.

Games don’t simply have to be an endless cycle of fighting and dying; it’s not a requirement that protagonists are merely pigs being led to slaughter. The Twitch branding that frames the pieces is an appeal to all gamers, everywhere: Pay attention! Watch this! Order something other than the pig soup of violent games!

artist Joshua MongeauJoshua Mongeau is an accomplished artist in a variety of mediums. In addition to his work on branding, logos, illustrations, and advertising, he’s also created art for children’s books, film/video games (including work for Lucasfilm), and the graphic novel, M.E.N.D. You can check out more of Josh’s work on his portfolio website right here.

Editors' Recommendations

Adam Rosenberg
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Previously, Adam worked in the games press as a freelance writer and critic for a range of outlets, including Digital Trends…
Here’s what E3 2023 could look like without Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft
Playstation character wall at E3 2018

Let's start with the good news: E3 2023 will be held in its in-person format once again after three long years of digital events necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this time with ReedPop at the helm. The bad news is that Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo -- gaming's "Big 3" -- may not show up at the industry’s biggest convention this summer.

This is according to a report from IGN citing multiple sources, who claimd the companies won’t be a part of the show or make appearances on the floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center in any way. Their absence from this year’s E3, especially Nintendo’s, may come as a shock to the gaming community, but it's not such a surprise when looking at the past few iterations of E3. Even before the pandemic locked everyone down in 2020, Sony and Xbox had been hosting their own E3-style livestreams, so it was more likely they would do it again this year anyway. Nintendo, on the other hand, managed to show off its upcoming games via Nintendo Direct streams and at its booth, console kiosks and all.

Read more
Summer Game Fest returns just before E3 2023 next June
The official artwork confirming Summer Game Fest's return on June 8, 2023.

Geoff Keighley has confirmed when Summer Game Fest will return in June 2023. It will begin with a live kickoff show on June 8, 2023, placing Keighley's game announcement alternative less than a week before E3's grand (intended) 2023 return.
Unlike past years, Summer Game Fest Live Kickoff 2023 will feature a live audience, like Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards. It will take place in the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park, with tickets going on sale in early 2023. It will still be livestreamed across platforms like YouTube and Twitch, though. It's currently unknown who's participating, how long Summer Game Fest will run afterward, or if it will feature a Summer Game Fest Play Days-like element for fans. Still, Keighley says all of that info will be revealed ahead of the event next year, teasing what people can expect. 
"In keeping with tradition, we'll have tons of exciting announcements from the developers that are pushing the games industry forward, and will once again highlight other publisher digital events, demos, and more surprises to be announced in the coming months," Keighley says in a press release. 
That June 8 start date, and the other Summer Game Fest events likely to follow, put Keighley's show just ahead of E3 2023. The ESA and ReedPop plan to bring E3 back between June 13 and June 16, 2023. With five days of lead time on E3, Summer Game Fest can coexist with the long-running gaming conference and encompass the plethora of publisher showcases that tend to precede E3.
Geoff Keighley made it clear that he wants Summer Game Fest and E3 to coexist for a while. "We've had extensive conversations with ReedPop about E3," he said in an interview with Epic Games Store. "I think it'll kind of fit together and flow kind of from what we're doing into what they're doing and stuff. E3, to me, is this kind of master brand that represents gaming news in June."
With the start date of Summer Game Fest confirmed, the coexistence of these two summer gaming events is a reality. Summer Game Fest returns on June 8, 2023.

Read more
E3 2023 returns in June with separate business and consumer days
The logo for E3 2023.

E3 2023 will return as an in-person event from June 13 to June 16, 2023, as announced by ReedPop today.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) already revealed that E3 will return in 2023, but now we know exactly when the event will take place, along with several other key details. E3 will once again take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center after a four-year hiatus, but will incorporate separate days for industry professionals and general consumers.

Read more